mama scout lab e-course

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

{review + giveaway + project} Fed Up with Frenzy by Susan Sachs Lipman

"Life's textures, and ultimately memories, are woven from the many small acts and micro rituals that come together, moment by moment, to add up to our days, weeks, and ultimately lifetimes."
Susan Sachs Lipman

I was so happy to be given the opportunity to review Susan Lipman's book, Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World. Just the title speaks to something deep with in many of us; a desire to slow down, appreciate the moment and feel present in our family life. 

Slowing down the pace of your life is simple but not easy. I loved this book because it is filled with concrete ways to engage as a family. 

The book begins and ends with chapters outlining the problems and many practical solutions. The bulk of the book is filled with an encyclopedic collection of ideas for slow activities, slow games, slow crafts, slow cooking, slow travel, slow celebrations and more. There are no photographs or image tutorials, so you can imagine how much is packed into over 350 pages.

Lipman has extensive scouting experience and that is reflected in many of the activities and songs. I particularly liked the catalog of  call and response songs and childhood hand clapping chants that I have long forgotten. Also, many of the playground games will be introduced to my children because of this book. 

This would be a great gift to yourself for your parenting bookshelf. You can browse through it when you need an idea for something simple and slow to do with your children. Most of the projects and activities are classic and use things you already have around your house. If you would like to win a copy, click down to the bottom for more information. 


One of the micro rituals she suggests is to have interesting conversations at dinner, not just the logistical ones (who is driving who to soccer, who is picking up dinner...). We actually did something similar in my Mama Scout Family e-Lab, so I thought I would share that here. We made conversation starter jars. 

You can print out 25 conversation starters here and just cut them up, put them in a jar (or an old gum container like we used) and pull one out at dinner (or in the car or at bedtime). 

It might seem silly or weird, but you might be amazed. My kids love this and are always up for the question of the night. When we "do a question," the mood of the table instantly changes from whiny complaining or bathroom talk to thoughtful, engaged, real conversation. 


Would you like to win a copy of this book? If so, leave a comment with a conversation prompt that you would add to your jar. I will pick a winner November 21st.
Good Luck!

The luck winner is:
Toni at This Simple Life!


  1. It sounds really simple - but "what do you want to do this weekend?" always brings up lots of conversation from everyone :)

  2. Oh, sounds like a great read!! Thanks for the chance to win!

    My conversation prompt: "Would you rather have Chicklet teeth or yarn hair?" (you will find there are many pros and cons to each!) This question comes from a book entitled "Would You Rather?" it is filled with great questions like this one! I had a copy years ago before kids, and think I might just have to track down a copy now.

  3. Would you rather give up all your toys or all your books? (Yes, parents-- your smartphones and tablets count as your toys).

    ps: We are still using our conversation jar from the September e-Lab. It's definitely worth making if you haven't already!

  4. Which fairy tale character would you like to spend a day with and why?

    This book is on my too-read list. You've convinced me to read it sooner rather than later.

  5. For a while we had a map under a clear plastic tablecloth at our dinner table. When it was there our conversation starters revolved around it. Things like ~ would you rather go to Iceland or Greenland? Or for each continent, can you name a movie/book that takes place there?

  6. What a cool book! I would ask what is your favorite book and why.

  7. We start lots of conversations with 'would you rather...'. When it's my sons turn they are usually adventurous ( would you rather fly on the back of a dragon flying over the ocean with no seatbelt or live in an anthill for a week?); my daughter ask social situation questions (would you rather be friends with everyone or have all your teachers think you are wonderful?) and I'll ask mom questions (would you rather be a painter or a writer?) I'm going to start my jar right. Now.

  8. What pet of ours would you like to spend a day as? What would that day be like? Follow up questions: How would you communicate? Would you like to eat their food?

  9. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

  10. I love the idea of slowing down. My kids have a hard time understanding slow, calm, activities can be fun too. I'd love to see what this book has to offer!

    My question: If you had a thousand dollars what would you do with it?

  11. My kids are little (4 and 2), so our conversation starters need to be a bit more concrete. We're working on empathy with my older son and the other night asked "what's one thing you like about yourself and one thing you would like to change about yourself." His answer was actually very thoughtful, and I think he appreciated hearing our answers.

  12. What did we do today that you found the most boring?


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